We Were Here by Matt De La Pena

51uXbcSYobL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Summary: Miguel is half Mexican, half white who feels guilty for what he did to end up in Juvi. He’s smart, and has a good heart but is struggling with his conscience. The judge gives him a year in a group home and tells him he has to write in a journal so a counselor can try and figure out how he thinks. The judge has no idea that he’s doing Miguel a favor by sending him away because since the incident his mom can’t even look at him in the face. ANY home besides his own would be a better place to live in. But Miguel doesn’t plan on meeting Rondell and Mong in the group home and the journey they go on. Miguel stays away from the other boys in the group home and spends all his free time reading. He doesn’t want to talk or connect with anyone in the group home especially the mysterious Mong, who has a reputation of extreme violence. Nor does he want to talk to his roommate Rondell who irritates him by calling him “Mexico” even though Miguel can’t even speak Spanish. So it’s a big surprise when one night Rondell, Mong, and Miguel run away from the group home they’ve been court assigned to. They steal $750 from the home and try to make their way up to Mexico where they plan to become fishermen. Mong and Rondell run away to start a new life in Mexico, but Miguel is running away to forget about his past. Even though they are so different from each other, the three boys find a connection as they hide, steal, fight, and work they’re way up to the Mexican border. They’re journey from Venice Beach all the way to the Mexican border changes they’re lives forever. The book follows the journey of a boy who runs away to forget. Forget about his mom. Forget about his brother. Forget himself. But most of the time running away is the quickest path right back to what you’re running from. Through out his journey Miguel must try to forgive himself in an unforgiving world.

Why I picked it up: I picked up this book because I needed an ER book, but once I started reading the first page I was automatically hooked. I really enjoy when books are in first person. The author also made the main character have a strong, engaging voice.

Why I kept reading it: I kept reading this book because it was a funny, heartbreaking, and it’s a story about friendship. The friendship that develops between three guys and the journey they go through. Reading the book was also
like a mystery because the main character did something terrible to end up in a group home, and get cut off from his family, but readers don’t learn what it is until the end.

Who would I give it to next: I would give this book next to anyone who enjoys reading in a first person and anyone who likes books about friendship. I would also give this book to anyone who enjoys reading about journeys that people go through. In general I would give this book to anyone simply because I really enjoyed this book and found it very heartwarming and enjoyable.

Reviewed by: Miriam C.

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2 thoughts on “We Were Here by Matt De La Pena”

  1. We are reading this for our 11-12th English class. Any suggested curriculum, activities, prompts…. would be appreciated! We will share what we create, also!

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